United He Laughs

Comedian Yakov Smirnoff and his brand of neutral humor have Socially Sparked® our lives for over four decades. We caught up with the comedian at the APAP NYC conference this week to hear what he’s been up to, catch his APAP Showcase and discover what’s Socially Sparked his life.

United we laugh Yakov Smirnoff

Russian born iconic comedian Yakov Smirnoff is many things – a comedian, an immigrant, an actor, best-selling author and doctor. You read that right. His quest to better understand the science of laughter and relationships led him back to school. Today Yakov holds a Doctorate Degree in Psychology and Leadership from Pepperdine University and a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.


United he laughs Yakov Smirnoff

The comedic legend is living the American dream and laughing all the way. His lovable view of life through the eyes of a poor immigrant captured the hearts of America.

Yakov came to America in the late 1970s after escaping from communist Soviet Russia. He did not even know the language yet managed to snag a bartender job working at the famous Grossinger’s Catskill Resort in New York. It was there that he began telling his jokes after his shifts and grew in popularity. A move to Los Angeles launched his ever-growing career in comedy, television (Night Court), motion pictures (The Money Pit) and more. He attributes his big break to Los Angeles’ The Comedy Store club owner Mitzi Shore, who took him under his wing. Shortly thereafter, he soared to the top of the comedy world, where he still sits today.

comedian Yakov Smirnoff


American iconic comic Dr. Yakov Smirnoff inspires others through his comedy and his teachings. His famous catchphrase “What A Country” is making a revival with his message that America is still “What A Country.” Here’s what the Dr./Comic reveals as his top three moments that Socially Sparked his life.

1. Coming to America first and seeing my name in big letters ‘America loves Smirnoff’ and I said “What A Country!”  That started everything

2. The Comedy Store and the owner of the Comedy Store Mizi Shore gives me a break. This is a place where people like Robin Williams, Jay Leno, David Letterman and all the comics were working and she included me. David Letterman helped me to fill out my citizenship application.

3. Performing at the White House for President Reagan

4. The Tonight Show and being on Johnny Carson

5. My family life, my wife, my kids

“All of those were ‘Sparks” that made my life very rich and very happy.” — Yakov Smirnoff, American comic legend

United he laughs Yakov Smirnoff


Yakov continues to inspire and make people laugh. He has a new show in the works that he showcased at the APAP Conference. The concept of the show is called “United We’ll Laugh.” According to Yakov the concept is modeled after the legendary Johnny Carson, who was on the air for 30 years. “We didn’t know if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He stayed in the center which made him so popular where millions of people watched the first show- I know I did,” says Yakov.

“I think that’s what’s missing right now. The Talk Show Hosts don’t want to stay in the center, they want to be on one side or the other. They are leaving me some space and I think that’s fine” — Yakov Smirnoff

Socially Sparked News

Iconic comedian Yakov Smirnoff is truly living the life of laughter and happiness. He continues to spread his brand of comic relief and inspirational messages to people around the world. His ultimate ‘American Dream’ story underscores the importance of immigration rights in the United States today. We can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next. –Abbe is #SociallySparked!    Tweet us @sosparkednews & @asparks01